In 1975, Women's Studies began as an undergraduate program committed to excellent in teaching, research and service. At that time it had only one faculty member. In 1979, the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) was created to supplement the research and teaching of Women's Studies, by fostering collaborative research projects on issues related to women's employment, health, education and culture within the southwestern United States and the US-Mexico border region. In 1983, Women's Studies was approved to offer the B.A. degree. In 1985, the Women's Studies Advisory Council (WOSAC) was formed to generate financial and political support for Women's Studies, In 1994, Women's Studies received permission to become the tenure home of its faculty, and in 1995 Women's Studies was certified to offer the Master's Degree. In February 1997, the Arizona Board of Regents granted Women's Studies department status.
Today the Department of Gender and Women's Studies now offers a B.A. with optional concentrations in Chicana/Latina Studies and Sexualities and Queer Studies concentrations; J.D./M.A. in conjunction with Rogers College of Law; a graduate certificate program and, since 2008, a Ph.D. program in Gender and Women's Studies that is already within the top six nationally.
Our faculty are nationally ranked scholars in a wide variety of disciplines (transnational studies, Chicana studies, post structuralist theory, ethnography, feminist science) and students are also encouraged to study with our dozens of affiliate faculty across the university.